SIR JOHN GIELGUD (1904–2000) — Sponsored by Delfont Mackintosh Theatres
Location: No.7 Upper St Martin's Lane, now Wellington House
John Gielgud was of theatrical lineage on his mother's side, being the grandson of actress Kate Terry and the great nephew of Dame Ellen Terry. He had his initial success as a stage actor in classical roles, first winning stardom during a successful two seasons at the Old Vic Theatre from 1929 to 1931 where his performances as Richard II and Hamlet were particularly acclaimed. He returned to the role of Hamlet in a famous production under his own direction in 1934 at the New (now Noel Coward) Theatre, St Martin's Lane. Here he had directed and starred in the greatest commercial success of his career, Richard of Bordeaux (1933). He could see the theatre from his flat, which was his first residence after leaving home. He left London for New York, when he had a Broadway hit with Hamlet.
Sources: DNB; The Times (letters from here 1933 and 1934); J Gielgud, Early Stages (1990 ed.); archives in BL